More

Foundations announced they're giving $20 million to trans issues. These stats show why.

These foundations just pledged a historic amount of money to support the transgender rights movement.

Foundations announced they're giving $20 million to trans issues. These stats show why.

2015 has been a breakout year for the visibility of transgender people.

Laverne Cox and Janet Mock. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Cosmopolitan.


President Obama became the first president to even utter the word "transgender" during a State of the Union address. Transgender model Andreja Pejic was featured in a Vogue photo spread. And former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner took the cover of Vanity Fair to accompany an in-depth interview about coming out as a transgender woman. Also? "Orange Is the New Black" breakout star Laverne Cox was cast in a network TV drama, and Janet Mock was a guest on Oprah's popular show "Super Soul Sunday." And that's just to name a few!

Visibility of trans folk and their issues is one thing, but financial resources to make real progress? That's been in short supply. Which is why this is completely awesome:

A group of nonprofits including the Arcus and NoVo foundations recently announced they're putting $20 million toward transgender issues over the next five years.

Trans activist CeCe McDonald (left) and Katie Burgess of the Trans Youth Support Network. Image via National LGBTQ Task Force/YouTube.

It's about time. Transgender leaders and their movement have been dramatically underfunded. And the need for resources has only increased because with more visibility comes, unfortunately, more backlash. More funding means being able to push back against harmful campaigns like ones that frame transgender people as sexual predators so they can't use gender-segregated bathrooms. (Yep, that happens.) It also means being able capitalize on the moment to push for better policies.

To be sure the money really has an impact, the nonprofits are funneling it directly to the community.

Photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images.

Instead of going to organizations that include the T in LGBT as a part of their broader agenda, the money will be directed right to the people who know what trans people need best: transgender leaders and groups.

A report from Funders for LGBTQ Issues found that funding for trans issues is at a record high, with $8.3 million in funding in 2013. No small sum, but that only amounts to 0.015% of all foundation funding in the past 10 years. With the guidance of trans advisors, this coalition will give that percentage a much-needed boost.

The money is meant to empower grantees in a push for meaningful change — both culturally and legally — that will improve the lives of transgender people.

Photo by Ted Eytan/Flickr.

Visibility is good because it's a sign of cultural change and acceptance, but it isn't enough. That's why the coalition is focused on creating long-lasting change with an eye to these issues:

Economic justice: Transgender people are much more likely to be homeless, live in poverty, and experience workplace discrimination and harassment. A whopping 90% of trans people have experienced workplace harassment and discrimination. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that trans people are four times as likely to live in extreme poverty, earning less than $10,000/year.

Improving access to health care: The widespread discrimination that transpeople experience takes a toll on both their physical and mental health. 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide, which is exponentially higher than the general population's 1.6% rate. And about half of trans people find themselves playing the role of teacher when they seek health care because so many providers are clueless when it comes to addressing trans needs.

Ending violence: What's often left out of the mainstream conversation about trans issues is that transgender folks — especially trans people of color — face an extremely high rate of violence. A National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report found that almost three-quarters of hate violence homicide victims are transgender women, who largely underreport it because they are likely to experience additional violence at the hands of police.

These statistics show just how necessary this funding is.

Photo by Ted Eytan/Flickr.

That $20 million will allow nonprofits and leaders to get meaningful policy on the books that would require transgender people to be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. And if people don't want to follow non-discriminatory policies? Funding for organizations like the Transgender Law Center will help trans people get representatives fighting for them in court.

The funders hope this new financial commitment will create a domino effect in the philanthropic community.

Hopefully, this will just be the beginning. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Jason McGill of the Arcus Foundation said, "Transgender leaders and their movement have been dramatically underfunded. We anticipate that other funders will join us."

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see the impact of this much-needed change.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

Among many notable moments in Joe Biden's presidential inauguration, Amanda Gorman's recitation of her original poem "The Hill We Climb" stood out as a punctuation mark on the day.

It's perhaps fitting that Gorman herself stands out in several ways. The 22-year-old former National Youth Poet Laureate is the youngest poet to compose and deliver an inaugural poem. Like Joe Biden, she struggled with a speech impediment as a child, which makes reciting her poetry in an event broadcast around the globe all the more impressive. But what's most striking in this moment is what she represents—the bright and hopeful future of America.

For four years, we've had an administration focused on reversing progress and taking the country backwards to a mythical era in which the country was better. The slogan "Make America Great Again" has always implied a yearning to return to some kind of ideal past—one which, in reality, didn't exist (unless you're actually into white supremacy). The U.S. was built on high ideals but has always grappled with the advancement of some at the expense of others, with the legacy of racism and sexism ever-present in our politics, and with injustice being inseparable from our imbalance of political power.

Today, though, we marked a distinct shift in that balance of power. We swore in our first female vice president, in addition to our first non-white vice president. And in adding the voice of a young, Black, female poet to artfully contextualize the occasion, we see an emphasis in leaning into that shift. In Amanda Gorman, we see an America looking to the future as we honestly assess our past.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.